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The Cold Filtered Ramblings of Gene Mueller

Another "Sopranos" Casualty?

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The job you don't want Monday morning: switchboard operator at the cable company.

 

I'm guessing there'll be scads of calls from HBO customers pulling the plug after "The Sopranos" finale airs Sunday night.

 

I thought about it.

 

There was a time when I couldn't have lived without HBO--the movies, "Inside The NFL", big-name boxing. Then came "Six Feet Under", "The Sopranos" and "Deadwood."

 

After Sunday, they'll all be gone.

 

I like "Entourage", and Bill Maher's "Real Time" is maddening: occasionally brilliant, sometimes uncomfortably obvious/unfunny/uncomfortable, but the pluses are still outweighing the negatives.

 

What is there to fill the void?

 

Fortunately, FX.

 

"Rescue Me" is back next week, and if you aren't already a fan, might I suggest you plug in a.s.a.p. Denis Leary is a New York firefighter bothered by the after-effects of 9-11, booze, a shattered marriage, a dysfunctional family, the death of a son, and the politics of the firehouse. Unbelievable television: stark, funny, poignant, gut-wrenching. Not for the faint of heart, which is a polite way of saying "stay away" if you're bothered by rough language, sex, and sophomoric humor.

 

Read more here.

 

 

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18964561/



Cable is, for the most part, a fly-over: endless clicks of faceless channels that all look alike in trying to pander to a certain demo or niche. FX is separating itself from the pack with each and every one of it's original offerings. It's a place to be forgotten the rest of the time, but offerings like "Rescue Me", "The Shield" and "Nip/Tuck" are making it a reliable stop. Toss in one of my guilty pleasures, Courtney Cox Arquette's "Dirt", and you've got a channel that's turning heads while offering a reliable alternate to HBO.

 

And, did I mention the best part?

 

It's free.

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